The blacklist had an unenviable task ahead of her with Friday’s episode: Memorialize actor Clark Middleton, who died in 2020, and write her recurring character, Glen, effectively.
The resulting hour, titled “The Wellstone Agency,” managed to do both of these things with a touching farewell to Middleton and her alter ego. While the episode also contributed to Red’s pursuit of Liz, its most poignant goal was the loss of Middleton’s DMV regional manager to die from West Nile virus like her doorman did in real life.
But among the dark moments of the episode – like Red’s eulogy for Glen, delivered at the Statue of Liberty – there was a certain levity, including the weird and funny twist that Glen had claimed to have for years. years of friendship with singer Huey Lewis. The two men did not have such a relationship in reality, but in the spirit of preserving the lie and not leaving his mother devastated, Glen had posthumously tasked Red with finding Lewis and persuading him to attend the memorial. by Glen. (Unexpectedly, Red pulled it off, and Lewis starred in several scenes.)
Under, Blacklist EPs Jon Bokenkamp and John Eisendrath explain how Lewis’ appearance came about, among other details from the Sweet Tribute episode.
TVLINE | In a previous interview, we briefly covered how you would approach Clark’s death on the show, and it seemed Glen’s death was the best solution. Why did Glen’s death feel the most appropriate, as opposed to writing it some other way?
BOKENKAMP | We’re still going through all the ideas – good and bad – so yeah, we’ve been exploring ideas where maybe Glen was fired, or gone on vacation, or maybe we just won’t see Glen again. But Clark was such an important part of The blacklist that it didn’t take long for us to embrace the idea of acknowledging his death as part of the show’s narrative. In fact, it would be weird for us to do not admit it. Once we embraced this idea, we felt we had the opportunity, not only to talk about Glen – who he was and what he meant for the show – but we had the opportunity to pay tribute to Clark Middleton.
ASK | We loved Clark. Acknowledging his passing on the show gave us the opportunity to praise the character he played on the show and, to some extent, the man himself.
TVLINE | On a similar note, Glen’s cause of death is noted as West Nile virus – the same as Clark’s real-life cause of death. Did anyone ever think of changing Glen’s cause of death, or was it more appropriate to honor what had really happened to Clark?
BOKENKAMP | Honestly, during this time of COVID, with so many people tragically dying, it was a total shock to learn that Clark died of West Nile. It was so random, weird and unexpected. We thought, “Well, that’s what happened. It took us by surprise, and maybe it should surprise the characters in our series.
TVLINE | How did Huey Lewis’s appearance come together? Was he always the celebrity named in the script, or did you have to modify that depending on who you could get on the show?
BOKENKAMP | First of all, I am a huge Fan of Huey Lewis. I have always loved his music. My kids now love his music. And we were desperate to get him on the show. But the truth is that one of my dear friends, Kurt Kuenne, is a frequent director on The blacklist and also working on a new documentary about Huey, and he’s got to know him pretty well. So when the show made the offer to Huey, I called Kurt and begged him to reach straight out and explain that this isn’t just another TV episode, it’s a tribute to a guy the show, and fans of the show, absolutely adored. Huey totally understood it. It was a great sport, a total pro and he’s absolutely fantastic in the episode.
TVLINE | And I loved Red’s eulogy for Glen, just a really nice scene to end the episode. While writing this monologue, did you feel a sense of responsibility or pressure to praise Clark at the same time? Was it a difficult monologue to achieve?
BOKENKAMP | What James [Spader] done in this monologue is simply amazing. It really is one of my favorite moments on the show. The time it takes and the emotion it brings to the scene are simply magnificent. As for the words – it’s probably no secret, but this speech isn’t so much about Glen Carter as it is Clark Middleton and how much we will miss him. He wasn’t just a great actor, he was a really nice, smart guy, and I feel blessed for the time we spent together.
ASK | [There wasn’t] the pressure, as much as the desire to honor how we feel about him. He overcame significant obstacles in his life. There’s a fearlessness to it, and that fearlessness was fundamental to her connection to Reddington. Spader spoke about it on the show as a way to honor Glen. We hope this honored Clark as well.